Post by dreamingofchange on Jul 17, 2012 16:28:57 GMT -5
I would be really grateful if anyone could suggest some quick and healthy meals I could make for my family when I get in from work late?
Sometimes I struggle to cook because the dishes are not done/tired/can't face the mess in the kitchen and end up with take away about twice a week which I'm determined to stop or drastically cut down to once a fortnight/month or for a treat only.
Unfortunately, cooking does not come naturally to me but I do try! I try to give my family healthy meals when I can but don't seem to have any culinary imagination.
Thanks so much in advance, I'm by no means a fussy eater, happy to try all suggestions-meat/vegetarian/poultry/pulses
The only requirement, they don't take too long to make or need tons of pots/pans as chances are they won't all be clean! In fact, no chance that they will all be clean LOL.
I am big on one pan or one pot meals myself. I depend on boneless, skinless chicken a lot for easy meals. I put about two inches of chicken broth in a pan, put the chicken in and let it cook in the broth for about ten minutes (more if a thicker piece of meat). Then I put in some vegetable. I like frozen broccolli or spinach. The vegetable cooks very quickly. For a starch, I try to have rice already made and can add that in to absorb some broth and warm up. Or I make a separate pot of pasta as the other stuff is cooking. One of the keys to a quick meal is to have quick cooking foods, thinner cuts of meat, thinner slices of veggies, thinner pasta, etc. You can dress up a meal like this with any number of mixed seasoning blends or sauces. Hope this helps.
Post by dreamingofchange on Jul 17, 2012 17:11:12 GMT -5
Fab-thanks Angela, I'll definitely give it a try. I particularly like the one pot idea. I am feeding 7 so that sounds just my sort of thing! I use microwave boiled rice bags quite frequently so I could just add that to the pot of chicken and veg once it's been cooked Think I'll give it a go tomorrow hugs xxxxxxxx
I think one of the best solutions for weeknight cooking is the freezer. Make two dinners, freeze half and eat it on a night when you don't want to cook. I got a chest freezer just for this reason.
Some things that freeze well:
stews curries cabbage rolls casseroles tomato sauce and meatballs meatloaf soup (I made a split pea and ham soup last week that was like 5 ingredients and cost like $4 for a giant pot!) burritos/enchiladas mashed potatoes rice chili pot roast
A lot of these things can also be cooked in the crockpot, if you have one, while you're at work. I substitute ground turkey for hamburger meat in a lot of things because it's super healthy.
If you have a bbq, grilling is awesome. Fish or chicken with a few herbs, meat on a skewer (kebabs, souvlaki, satay, etc.) and so on. You can often marinate the meat ahead. I like to brush a few vegetables with balsamic salad dressing and grill those, but you could also grill corn or potatoes in foil, or steam some veg in the microwave.
I also do texmex a lot, like fajitas, which are one-pan and can use lots of veg.
Quiche is super easy, low-mess, bakes in thirty minutes.
2 frozen pie shells
Vegetables of your choice--I use a block of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed in microwave, and one onion chopped. You could add sausage, bacon, mushrooms, etc.
1/2 cup or so of cheese. I use shredded cheddar, never measure. Just sprinkle "some."
Preheat oven to 425.
Sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the pie shells. Divide thawed vegetables (frozen throws off cooking time) into equal amounts for each pie shell. Sprinkle the rest the cheese on top of the veggies.
Beat four eggs in a bowl, pour into one pie shell. Beat four more for the second pie shell.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the eggs are set. Makes 8 slices.
“Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.” --Nathaniel Emmons
My bare-bones dailies: Plan dinner by 10am Clear and clean dining table Vacuum the middles of the dining/living room floor Unload/load dishwasher Sweep
Post by dreamingofchange on Jul 17, 2012 18:02:04 GMT -5
ctrlz-great ideas with the freezer, I'm sort of stuck with cooking at the moment and just can't seem to get any ideas of what to make and have no cooking flair! Love the idea of a crock pot, I forgot about those. I had one years ago and used it frequently. I think I'll invest in another, I sure think it will help alot as I work on and off from 11 am to 9 pm so slow cooking could be a great help-thanks so much for great tips.
Hi Cricket My mouth is watering with your quiche! Why can't I think of ideas like this? LOL I just seem stuck with several things at the mo.
I could make different varieties and love that it's low mess-My favourite kind. I could serve with salad and garlic bread. Will definitely give it a try. Thanks so much everyone.
I buy roasts when they are on sale and cut them in cubes and brown them in olive oil with onions and then bag them flat so that I can break off as much as I need to fix a meal. I make chili with them, beef stroganoff with them, beef chunks and gravy, casseroles, etc... They are the last minute time saver of all time. And you can get a lot of small cubes out of a roast. When you see a good sale -- buy several and fix them.
I know the weather might not be right for this right now, but the crockpot is great for making meals that doesn't require multiple pots. You can even start it going on low, before you leave for work, and it's ready when you come home.
Lots of crockpot recipes out there.
For a quick and easy meal that satisfies hunger and keeps it away for a few hours, I find that this is a big favorite in my house.
Lima beans and green olives baked for about 30 minutes. This is the main dish. You use one bag of frozen lima beans, and about a one-half to 3/4 cups of green olives. Drizzle olive oil & mix them together. Sprinkle your favorite spice (vary it each time to find what you like best, or just always use the same.) Sometimes I use rosemary. Other times, basil, or thyme. Cover with lid or foil and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Add a salad (doesn't take long to make a salad & or bread & maybe some fresh fruit for desert. Add a glass of milk for more nutrition and you've got a pretty good meal. It's one of Hubby's favorites.
Your family might want more than just veggies for dinner, so you might want to use some leftover or cooked ahead meat to go along with that.
Another easy meal is a baked potato with cottage cheese as the filling. You can bake a potato in the microwave oven in 5-7 minutes (depends on the size) or do it in the oven the old fashioned way. Butter or margarine, salt & pepper and top it off with at least a half a cup of cottage cheese and it's very filling. Sometimes Hubby and I will have only that for dinner.
A sweet potato instead of a baked potato is another filling and easy thing to cook. But I've never added cottage cheese to sweet potatoes, so you'd need to give them a glass of milk or something, too.
Pasta is also very fast and doesn't really require a lot of pots & pans. One pot to boil the pasta. One plate or bowl to serve it in. Pour the bottled or canned pasta sauce on top of the hot pasta & mix it up. One pan, one bowl, that's it. Serve it with parmesean cheese, bread and maybe a salad.
Fresh fruit is a great desert, no muss, no fuss, no preparation and no plates needed for serving. Often no silverware needed, either.
Milk can be very filling, so serve a tall glass of milk with each meal. It's also nutritious.
But look for some crockpot recipes and see if any of them might work for your family. I usually make soup in my crockpot and in the cooler months, that's all we have for dinner. I start it in the morning and let it cook all day. Crockpot soups can be made with just about anything. Beans for protein, any variety of veggies. Even pasta, but don't add the pasta until toward the end, otherwise it turns to mush.
Speaking of pasta, I learned a trick about pre-cooking pasta and packaging it for later use. Cook up a huge pot of pasta (twice or three times your usual amount for one meal.) Then package the excess in serving sized plasic baggies & keep in the fridge. Then a few days later, just pop that pasta into the top of a steamer or double boiler just long enough to heat it up & your meal is almost ready. Practically no clean-up the second night.
Make ahead salads, such as pasta salad, lentil salad, fruit salad, and keep them in containers in the fridge to serve as side dishes. Then when you're cooking the main dish, all you have to do is clean the one pan. The side dishes are already to be taken out of the fridge and served.
Make some extra of whatever dish you are making, and put the excess in a container to use two days later. By rotating foods every two or three days, it won't become boring and it seems like you still have variety in your meals.
Get a roll of masking tape and a permanent marker to label the packaged foods so you know what's in them and so you can choose which ones to use for any given meal.
Some days I'll make two or three salads (lentil, pasta, potato) that I can then package and serve them on alternating days with meals. I've done the same with green salads, but they seem to be nicer if made fresh each day. But you could make a green salad (minus the dressing & croutons, if you use them) in the morning and refrigerate it until dinnertime. Then just add the dressing at the end. And croutons if you use them.
Sometimes I'll make eggs for dinner. Scrambled or sort of crepe style (but not really a crepe) that can be made into a hot egg sandwich.
Another meal that uses only one skillet is a kind of hash that you can make with leftovers. It can be a breakfast or a dinner. Maybe use a fresh potato, or use a leftover potato. Saute in a little oil with some onion & peppers. As it softens add some water to keep it from burning & to continue the softening. Add whatever leftovers you want (meat if you have it, corn, broccoli, etc.) Spice to taste. I cook this in a wok, because it's nice a spacious.
Those are some ideas off the top of my head.
7 people? Are any of them of the age to be of any assistance with this meal prep? Maybe you can enlist one or two to help with one or two small tasks, even if it's only setting the table or washing the dishes. But I find that kids often love to cook.
Loving v5, but of course, still getting used to it.
I'm not the greatest cook. I buy meats on sale. We are a family of 5, I use a big skillet aka frying pan, butter, either chicken tenders, porkchops, or steaks and season all to cook these meats. I look for thin cuts so they cook fast.
Depending on how much time I will make a box of mac and cheese or I will make easy macs in the microwave.
I like Eagles ideas. The difference with pasta at our home is, once it is cooked it stays in the pot it was cooked in. I serve one plate at a time. You can add butter or olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, you can cook chicken or shrimp as above in the skillet add a jar of alfredo sauce, or spaghetti and meatballs or sauce. We buy preggo and add the same amount of either vegetable juice or tomatoe sauce or juice. Small meatballs that 30 minutes to fully cook, just form ball and drop in sauce.
We like fried egg sandwiches and chicken tender sandwiches.
Salads can be pretty quick chopping board knife and salad bowl is all that is required prep wise. If it is a meal use more, we pull several leaves of lettuce off rinse, add spinach if available toss, add cut up tomatoes, or cherry/grape tomatoes, then chop onions, celery, or carrots as to your likes and toss salad. you can add boiled eggs, bacon bits, chicken tenders, or nuts as your tastes like. And also cheese.
We have days we make pancakes for dinner.
I am starting to add canned veggies to our dinners by heating in the microwave for a minute. These meal should not take longer than 30 minutes.
Post by vagabondmoon on Jul 18, 2012 11:12:18 GMT -5
Why, I'll tell ya what I whipped up yesterday in a large skillet:
1) Brown a pound of ground meat of some sort- drain
2) Throw in frozen vegies- I used a large bag of Bird's Eye Asian Stir- Fry 3) This is when you would add chopped up onion, or mushrooms or whatever floats ya- I added dried onion and soy sauce and season to taste. You might want to add a little broth or some liquid. 4) Cover and simmer until heated.
Real tasty as is, I let mine dry out, hence adding some broth. This would be great over a starch or grain- nuke a potato!
Post by einsteinsdesk on Jul 18, 2012 11:34:09 GMT -5
I have recently become fond of making a chinese-type stir fry in a wok. You can use a large skillet if you don't have a wok, though. The prep work takes some time, maybe about 30 minutes, but the actual cooking only takes 4 minutes. I save some additional time by using a bottled stir-fry sauce instead of making my own.
Post by ronaldjohn on Jul 18, 2012 15:44:32 GMT -5
Please try this one for quick meal.
a. Oatmeal with mixed nuts and dried fruits. You will just need hot water to cook the mixture. b. scrambled Eggs - Olive oil, chopped parsley, salt and pepper, chicken stock, tomatoes, tuna. Mix the aforementioned mixture, heat the non sticky pan and then scramble the mixture. c. Fried tuna chops with chayote soup. This soup is easy to prepare, just saute garlic and pepper, add 2 cups of water and then the lengthwise cut chayote strips, add chicken star, let simmer for 4 minutes or less, add salt and pepper and chicken stock. Add Misua noodle to thicken. d. If you opt for gluten free food please try alberta gluten free foods
Last Edit: Jul 19, 2012 15:45:50 GMT -5 by ronaldjohn